There is a tremendous amount of information available online with regard to dog breeding and choosing a puppy, but no amount of online searching can compare to the insight gained from a one-on-one conversation with a highly regarded breeder. One such person is Bob Wimberg, an Indiana breeder of Russian Wolfhounds or Borzoi, treasured for hundreds of years by the Russian nobility. Bob has owned Borzoi for 28 years and he breeds them about every four to five years. The first thing of note about this high quality breeder, is that his focus is upon rearing animals naturally, breeding them only when it is healthy to do so, and giving them as high a quality of life as possible without the use of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Bob believes in using a dog diet made up of whole, natural foods, and treating his Borozi with natural remedies as much as possible. He uses herbs and garlic, bio-active natural dog supplements with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and of course no growth hormones. He explains that one of the most common problems in a dog is dry itchy skin and a dry coat, and these problems are entirely due to inadequate nutrition. Bob uses natural supplements containing the missing ingredients between what dogs would eat in the wild and processed food or even the home-prepared food. The result is complete dog health and no parasites.
Bob stated that his main goal is the improvement of the breed following standards that have been set down for hundreds of years. The Borzoi is an animal used to hunt ground game and so his breeding has to focus on the functionality of the dog. Bob explained, “There is sometimes a gap between show dogs and functional dogs, and even though I show my dogs, I work to close that gap by choosing animals that can do what they were originally bred to do. That means they need functional running gear, strong and healthy legs, a functional top line and double suspension gait when at full speed.” Bob takes the traits that are predominant in the show ring and combines them with traits that make the dog a functional hunter. The result is puppies that are both beautiful and functional. Bob continued, “When proper breeding is combined with natural rearing, the result is an exceptionally healthy puppy, able to fulfill its natural purpose. Even if my dogs don’t actually hunt anymore, it’s important that the aspects that are in the hunting dog not be bred out.”
Bob went on to offer some recommendations in looking for and choosing a puppy. He suggests that looking at your lifestyle, and choosing a breed that fits your lifestyle should be the primary consideration. This is where buying a book on breeds, or going online to study breeds will be important. Choose the breed of dog that has the size, temperament and personality attributes that will fit your family, your location, and the way you live. The Borzoi, for example, is not a dog that is good for everybody. They need a lot of exercise, grooming and attention, and they are a sight hound so they are very visually oriented. That may not be a perfect fit for every family.
Once you’ve chosen a breed, you’ll start the search for the puppy that is meant for you. Avoid the pet stores and don’t necessarily choose the most advertised breeder – look instead for a breeder in your area. All AKC dog breeds have mother clubs. These clubs should be able to link you to a breeder in your area who is in good standing with the AKC. Once you’ve found a legitimate breeder in your area, set up an appointment. Your goal will be to find out when the puppies are going to be born so that you can visit again and watch the puppies grow up to the point of weaning. Approaching your choice in this way will enable you to select a pet that is perfect for you. During your visit to the breeder, ask what they consider a good dog diet and observe the pet products and supplements they use. If the parents and grandparents are there, observe the longevity and health of the generations. When the puppies are weaned and put up for sale make a couple more visits in order to find a puppy that is active, acts healthy, is vital, interacts with the rest of the litter, is playing and responds to you. Most likely the puppy that chooses you will be the puppy you take home.
Bob offered the following advice to new puppy owners: “This is not a disposable purchase. This is an addition to the family that is going to be there ten, twelve or maybe 15 years depending on the breed. Your dog is utterly dependent on you. Taking care starts from the day you bring a dog home and nutrition is a vital part of that care.” For Bob, this is where choosing the right supplements comes in. He explained that he prefers Missing Link nutritional supplements as they fit into his program of natural rearing. Their puppy formula was developed by Dr. Collett, founder of Designing Health, to be used from weaning to eight or nine months depending on the breed. For adult dogs, supplements are pet products that address concerns directly related to nutrition such as allergies, dry skin, arthritis, bad digestion and dry coat.
We join with Bob in recommending that you give much time and thought to selecting your breed, selecting your breeder, selecting your puppy and selecting your pet products for their nutritional quality. If you do, your family will be rewarded with a beautiful, healthy, happy and devoted friend.
Check out more information about this subject in our other blog post – Choosing a Puppy? Four Tips from a Professional Breeder.